Wigan no match for Broncos
Dave Hadfield was a schoolboy convert to rugby league, the game which, one way or another, has dominated his life ever since. After working for newspapers in Shropshire and Blackpool (where he covered the fortunes of Blackpool Borough) he travelled the world, working mainly in Hong Kong and Sydney. He became The Independent's rugby league man in 1990 and has written five books on the game and broadcast extensively for Sky and the BBC. Dave played his last game at the age of 53 and would have set up a try if anyone could have been bothered supporting his break. When not writing about the sport, he now limits himself to a bit of tick and pass with his local club, the Bolton Mets. Family includes supporters - of varying degrees of dedication - of Salford, Wigan, Sheffield Eagles and St George Illawarra.
Monday 21 July 1997
Wigan 4 Brisbane 30
Even the loss of their natural leaders in both backs and forwards could not stop the Brisbane Broncos striding to a convincing victory at Central Park last night.
Brisbane lost their scrum-half and captain Allan Langer midway through the first half and then their Test prop Glen Lazarus with a suspected dislocated ankle. Despite that double blow, they soaked up everything Wigan could throw at them before stretching away majestically in the latter stages to win with ease.
The Broncos are rightly famous for their dazzling attacking skills, but last night Wigan never once looked like finding a way through their defence and were reduced to trying to kick their way over the top of it.
The only try of a gruelling first half, which also claimed Lee Hansen among its casualties, came when Langer slipped the ball to his half-back partner, Kevin Walters. It looked forward, but Walters was allowed to go on and touch down, Darren Lockyer converting from a wide angle.
Wigan had their invitations to get over the byline, especially when Brisbane had Michael Devere sin-binned after he and Darren Smith had stopped Craig Murdoch from playing the ball when Wigan made one of their tentative breaks. Andy Farrell landed the penalty to add to the one with which he had put Wigan ahead in the fourth minute, but a try continued to elude them.
Their best opportunities came in the period leading up to half-time, but a short-handed Brisbane defence held firm for 12 tackles and the nearest Wigan could come was when Farrell's bomb deflected to Andy Johnson, but he was stopped just short.
There was a lesson in finishing needed and Brisbane provided it after the break. First Anthony Mundine went gliding through for one try. Then, after Wigan had again enjoyed a period of pressure without capitalising on it, Mundine laid on the pass that sent Steve Renouf in.
A penalty, awarded when Neil Cowie tangled with Wendell Sailor, allowed Lockyer to land his third goal, but by then Wigan knew they were not going to break down the Broncos' remorseless tackling. Even with Ben Walker sinbinned for obstruction for the last few minutes there was still no way through. As time ran out and Wigan wilted, Mundine led a length of the field move for Lockyer to underline Brisbane's superiority and Sailor rounded it off with a long-range effort in injury time.
The Auckland Warriors, with three tries from Tea Ropati, hammered the Bradford Bulls 64-4 in Auckland yesterday while the Hunter Mariners beat Castleford 26-8 to remain unbeaten in the World Club Championship.
Wigan: Paul; Robinson, Connolly, Radlinski, A Johnson; Wright, Murdock; O'Connor, Cassidy, Cowie, Lester, Haughton, Farrell. Substitutes used: Hansen, Holgate, Cardiss. Substitute not used: Tallec.
Brisbane: Lockyer; Devere, Taylor, Renouf, Mundine; Walters, Langer; Lazarus, Driscoll, Gee, Ryan, Thorn, Smith. Substitutes: B Walker, S Walker, Lee, Carroll.
Details, Digest, page 19
Latest in Sport
Danny Ings: Liverpool target wanted by Borussia Monchengladbach... who could get Burnley striker for just £260,000
Humiliated Brazil look to continue recovery at Arsenal
Marco Reus vs Theo Walcott: Which is the better option for Arsenal?
England vs Lithuania match report: Harry Kane fires in first Three Lions goal just 78 seconds into debut to put icing on the cake
'God, she's beautiful': Embarrassment for basketball player Nigel Hayes after microphone picks up comment about female reporter
- 2 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 3 #FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
- 4 Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories
Nigel Farage brands LGBT activists 'filth' and 'scum' and accuses them of scaring away his children after they invade his local pub
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Russia threatens Denmark with nuclear weapons if it tries to join Nato defence shield
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Germanwings plane crash live: Co-pilot Andreas Lubitz wanted to 'do something people would remember him for'
£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...
£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Does earning a 6 figu...
£18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...